Digital makers, problem solving, thinking skills - were some of the key topics on the agenda at CCEA's (Council for the Curriculum, Examination and Assessment) first Primary ICT Conference.
Nearly 200 primary school teachers from across Northern Ireland, took part in 'Thinking for Digital' - Northern Ireland's largest primary school digital skills conference.
The 'Thinking for Digital' conference, attracted a breadth of expert speakers from both educational and industry backgrounds, and focused on present and future use of digital technology in the primary classroom. The conference is a part of CCEA's digital framework programme, that ensures the development of digital skills and progression across all key stages in Northern Ireland.
Speaking at the event, CCEA's CEO Justin Edwards commented:
"CCEA is a champion for digital skills in the classroom and today’s event is part of a wider set of activities to help teachers in this area. Today we’re bringing primary school teachers together to explore the opportunities that technology has opened up for pupils' learning across the curriculum. The use of digital technologies can enhance and develop pupils’ thinking skills and personal capabilities. For example, computational thinking encourages learners to break a problem down into smaller, more manageable parts, looking for similarities within and among problems, thinking logically, focusing on important information only, developing step-by-step rules and instructions and coding skills enables young people to be digital makers, rather than just digital users.
Such skills have wider value across the curriculum in developing young minds. Our teachers are keen to further develop this kind of teaching and learning as evidenced by the large turn out today."
Pamela McCrum, an inspector with the Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI), emphasised the importance of a sound pedagogy for using digital technology:
"Hardware and software develop and evolve all of the time. What changes less quickly, and is arguably more important, is the pedagogic thinking which underpins the use of both hardware and software by both the children and the teachers. Teachers are the linchpins in the turning of technological tools into effective pedagogical tools that support learning. Effective teachers plan for learning experiences that provide opportunities for the learners to develop and apply transferable skills such as problem solving, creativity, communication, critical thinking, collaborative work and technology skills."
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